Cagayan de Oro City-The Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources(BFAR) Region 10 on Monday announces that sardines in the country is still sufficient including in the Northern Mindanao region despite its catch dropped at 30% from 869,956 kilos annual catch in 2021 to 328,473 Kilos this year from the month of January to August, this we learned from Regional Director Teodoro Bacolod in a Press Conference held at his office Monday afternoon in line with the weeklong activities of Fish Conservation Week that ends on Friday.
He said that based on a current data from both the Philippine Statistics Authority(PSA) and his office, sufficency level of sardines locally known as “Tamban” is pegged at 222.58% for the 1st quarter of 2022 and 409.06% for the 2nd quarter.
For this year, the bureau forecasts an annual production of 293,431 metric tons, covering the national demand of 101,367 metric tons. The volume which is entirely sourced locally,comes from commercial and municipal fishers,at 208,387 metric tons and 85,043 metric tons share respectively.
Furthermore, data from the National Stock Assessment Program of the National Fisheries Research and Development Institute(NFRDI)show that sardine stock has significantly improved resulting in more sardines reaching maturity and appropriate catchable size.
The stable supply is attributed to the effective implementation of the National sardine Management Plan, a 5 year plan which harmonizes all the policies and programs on sardines including conservation measures such as the closed fishing seasons. Since its implementation in 2020, a notable improvement in production and supply was recorded.
Bacolod also reported that with regards to the call by the Canned Sardines Association of the Philippines(CSAP) to open up the municipal waters to commercial fishing vessels in order to address the alleged looming shortage of sardines which is contrary to the existing sardine supply sufficiency data, the agency reitirates that under RA 10654 or the amended Philippine Fishery code, small and medium commercial fishing vessels may be allowed to operate within the 10.1 to 15 kilometers from the shoreline in the municipal waters provided that the local government unit enacts a municipal ordinance allowing their operation.
Bacolod added that from 2017 to 2021, Northern Mindanao’s total sardine catch was totalling to 5,173,105.89 kilos which highest catches is in 2020 with 2,010,386.01 kilos the time when the agency implemented a closed season in Zamboanga peninsula. Closed season means no fishing to municipal waters in a certain period of season. While the lowest sardine production is in 2019 with only 743,389.60 kilos ,the reason is due to the peak of Covid-19 pandemic wherein more lockdowns imposed in more areas of the country plus the occurence of bad weather system in the country.The decline of catches in the period of August 2021 until at present is due to the country’s experienced of Climate change wherein more rain occurence was observed while the high cost of fuel is also contribute a lot resulted into motorized fishing boats not to go fishing.To solve the problem of fisherfolks on high cost of fuel, BFAR gives fuel subsidy to fishermen who are registered at Php3,000.00 each.